Category: Texas Business Law

Non-Compete Agreements: Garbage In, Garbage Out

A confusing, ambiguous, or imprecise non-compete agreement will yield poor results in court.  In other words: garbage in, garbage out.

The Two Steps All Small Businesses Can Take to Protect Their Trade Secrets

Many small businesses use Google, Microsoft 360, Dropbox or some other similar systems to maintain  and manage company records.  All of those systems allow the administrator to (1) set restrictions on which employees can access which information within the company; (2) track what the employees do with that information; (3) set restrictions on whether the employees can print, download, copy or share the information with other employees or people outside the company; (4) periodically change passwords to access the system; and (5) many other features that can help business owners prevent their information being shared outside the company. 

Is Credit Card Information Stored by a Restaurant a “Trade Secret”?

Credit card data (including cardholder names, credit or debit card numbers, and corresponding CVVs) were akin to passwords and usernames that provided access to something of value,” i.e. an individual’s line of credit with a financial institution or money in an account with a financial institution, and were not “trade secrets” under the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

A Study Concludes Mentioning “Trade Secrets” in Form 10-K Leads to More Cyber Breaches

Trade secrets only have value as long as they stay secret, so once they come into a competitor’s hands or become publicly available, their value is often destroyed.

Is it a Crime to Take Employers’ Trade Secrets?

Few employees realize that when they take their employers’ trade secrets with them prior to leaving their job they may be exposing themselves to criminal liability under the Economic Espionage Act, which makes it a crime to steal trade secrets when (1) the information relates to a product in interstate or foreign commerce (which is virtually any product now days) or (2) the intended beneficiary is a foreign power. 

The Fifth Circuit Rules Industry-Wide Noncompete Agreements Are Not Enforceable

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered whether a travel agency’s noncompete agreement with its employee was enforceable under Texas law.  It concluded that because the agreement did not have geographic limits, was not limited to the travel agency’s customers with whom the employee actually worked during her employment, and included entire travel agency industry, the non-compete was unenforceable.

2018 Mid-Year Non-Compete Laws Update

More and more states are amending their non-compete statutes to make them more employee-friendly.  This trend, spurred by the White House report on the effect of non-compete agreements on competition and the revelation that some of the largest  employers, like Jimmy John’s and Amazon, were requiring their sandwich-makers and warehouse employees to sign non-compete agreements, has continued into 2018. 

Why Stormy Daniels May be on the Hook for $1,000,000 – A Look Beyond the Headlines

Last Tuesday, Stormy Daniels, a porn star, sued President Trump seeking to declare her 2016 confidentiality agreement with him unenforceable and void so that she can tell the world about her affair with the President back in 2006. Here’s why she may lose.

An Injunction in a Theft-of-Trade-Secrets Case Cannot Prohibit a Party From Using Publicly Available Information

A court order prohibiting defendant from using trade secrets must be broad enough to cover all possible circumstances while narrow enough to include only the illegal activities.  Where that line lies depends on the circumstances of each particular case. 

Enforcing Non-Compete Agreements in Texas with an Injunction Requires Proper Timing

What a lot of companies do not realize, however, is that if they wait too long to ask for an injunction after finding out about the employee’s competitive activities, a court may deny their request simply because they waited too long

5 Tips for Minimizing Trade Secrets Theft by Clients, Contractors and Vendors

The business world is littered with the carcasses of companies which, after they shared their confidential information and trade secrets with a non-competitor, such as their client, supplier, or vendor, were undercut by that party, who all of a sudden realized that they could profit from the information by cutting out the middle-man. 

Trump’s Tax Reform Affects Settlements of Sexual Harassment Claims, But Training Remains the Best Answer

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act prohibits companies from claiming tax deduction for confidential settlements paid for sexual harassment and abuse and the related lawyer’s fees.

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